Okay, so it’s not a viable one, but I thought that a title like that sure would make you want to read the article! And, seeing as how you’re here, I’m assuming that it worked. (Yeah, I know what they say about "assuming" and "u" and "me," but it doesn’t make any difference, so lay off.)
"Enough of the small talk, get on with the combo," you’re urging me. Okay, okay.
After my article about comparing cards, someone by the name of Kismettasis informed me of the insulting of "one of my favorite cards." He mentioned a loop that gets you lots of squirrels in a RecSur deck, but, with a little tweaking, I’ve made it so that infinite squirrels can be had . . . and Carnival of Souls is key to the combo!
First, you need a Deranged Hermit in the graveyard. Then, in play, you need a Soul Warden, Deranged Hermit, Carnival of Souls, and Recurring Nightmare. The combo is simple: Sacrifice a Deranged Hermit to Recur the other one, losing six life and gaining it back. With the black mana, recast Recurring Nightmare; you now have two extra black mana in your pool (there is still a mana pool, isn’t there?). Wash, rinse, and repeat.
Now, granted, a five-part combo is extremely hard to pull off. However, anything that uses Carnival of Souls to net you infinite black mana and infinite squirrels is worth mentioning. I’m certain that this idea would make an interesting idea for multiplayer as one of those crazy combo decks that’s hard to pull off, but BOY, can you make a splash. Additionally, you have the bonus of being able to say, "I can’t believe I beat you guys with CARNIVAL OF SOULS!" (I’d like to thank the Ferrett and Anthony Alongi for seeding me with the nagging thought of "multiplayer use" constantly in the back of my brain. I like to keep my brain on its toes.)
Well, I’ve been sitting here for several minutes trying to decide how to connect to my next topic. However, the two are so completely unrelated that this explanation will have to do as a transition.
A couple days ago, I found myself in Books-a-Million. That bookstore is HUGE. It has aisles and headings . . . it’s like a grocery store for books. Overall, an amazing store. I went in to buy this month’s InQuest, some Magic cards, and possibly a book. However, in my wanderings, I stumbled upon something I’d never seen before: A horde of Pokemon players in a public setting.
It turns out that there was a "league" meeting or something like that. I took this opportunity up on its offer to learn more about Pokemon. I positioned myself near a Pokemon game just beginning. I asked the children if they minded if I watched. Of course they didn’t. (Would it have mattered if they had? No, not really.)
So, I actually watched an entire Pokemon game from near-beginning to end. In that span of time, I learned how to play. That just goes to show you the innate simplicity of Pokemon. I also learned some things about the game of Pokemon that I had never known before. If I didn’t know it, then perhaps you didn’t. Allow me to elaborate.
There are "leagues" around the country (world?). For each match you win, you get ten points. Every time you bring a new player into the game, you get twenty points (but only if you have a trainer badge or something). The more points you get, the further "along" you go. You have a book that keeps track of the amount of cities that you’ve visited and the number of "Technical Machines" or "TMs" that you’ve picked up. At this particular event, you got a unique foil card absolutely free for completing some sort of activity.
All of these things shocked me. I had never known any of this about Pokemon. Now, I may be completely alone as one who’s in the dark about the inner workings of Pokemon, but this is how it shapes up to me: Magic has Pro Tours, Worlds (with coverage by ESPN2), books, statues, shirts, slang, etc. When you mention Magic to a good percent of "average" people, chances are that they’ve at least heard of it or seen it. All of these things rotate around the card game.
However, Pokemon is something different. Pokemon started out as a video game on the Game Boy. Over the past couple of years, it’s spread itself everywhere. (I once said to anyone who would listen, "What’s next? Pokemon breakfast cereal? Last night, no joke, I saw Kellogg’s Pokemon Cereal in Kroger. *Sigh*) The card game is simply another part of the Pokemon craze – in other words, CCG is a sub-craze of the overall Pokemon craze. However, among Pokemon CCG players, the league-style games are a sub-craze of the Pokemon CCG craze. That sub-craze is these secret (to outsiders) conventions, leagues, and so forth. The whole point system and actually going through the Pokemon world is a bit like roleplaying, and is a totally different aspect to the game. It’s like Pokemon have come to life. You truly battle your Pokemon, learn experience (points on the cards), get better Pokemon (the unique foils), go through cities (get stamps on the cards), and achieve awards (badges). It’s a hint of "realism" that fascinates me.
I hear tell that Legend of the Five Rings has something of this sort. Tournaments actually affect the story line as to who won the tournament. That, too, is an intriguing idea. Now, whether or not these ideas should be incorporated into Magic isn’t for me to decide. I don’t even know if they’d improve the game. However, they would definitely make the game more involved, and it might make players stick around more.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Magic just the way it is. I’m simply stating that there are a lot of ideas out there, and, when Wizards has run itself dry on special abilities (buyback, cycling, fading, etc.), they might look to this pool of ideas. Only time will tell.
Finally, allow me to warn you: I’ll be going out of town on Sunday and not returning until next Saturday. Thus, if you send me email, don’t be worried if I don’t get around to answering it for a while. But don’t let that discourage you. Send responses; they make a writer better. And, whether or not you believed me a couple weeks ago, I AM keeping track of constructive criticism for my contest. So, help me out!